Last week Thurrock voted UKIP. UKIP topped the poll in the borough twice, hitting near 40 percent in the Council elections and 46 percent in the European elections.
With six councillors, UKIP holds the balance of power in the chamber. We were busy building up a list of policies we would like to see implemented to help our residents, from restoring the 373 bus service, to changing the council from the cabinet to the more democratic committee system of government and ensuring local planning decisions go to local referendums.
We were looking forward to putting our case to the council and having a vote on it. That would be the normal, democratic course of events. Not so in Thurrock.
Not long after the ballot boxes were put away, we see on the front page of the Thurrock Gazette the revelations that Thurrock’s Conservatives and Labour parties – who not so long ago were tearing chunks out of each other – are making plans to band together to prevent UKIP delivering for residents.
We’d always known the other parties were indistinguishable. Blue Labour or Cheap Labour. You couldn’t put a cigarette paper between them. We’ve been proved right.
So the public have a right to know the answers to a few questions:
1. Which councillors from the Tories and Labour Parties were involved in these talks?
2. Will the transcripts of these negotiations be revealed openly and transparently to the public?
3. Were Jackie Doyle Price MP and Labour’s Polly Billington involved in these talks? Was their consent sought to prevent UKIP delivering for our constituents?
The choices couldn’t be clearer.
Vote Tory, get Labour.
Vote Labour, get Tories.
Or vote UKIP – get UKIP.
Tim Aker is a Member of the European Parliament for the East of England and a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thurrock